‘Digital Memorial’ is a new Irish website created by local man that allows you to create and share the memory of your loved one online. People can add a biography, photos and can share with family and friends. They can leave a tribute. It is an alternative to visiting a loved one's grave when it is not possible to do so in person.
The creator of the business, Darren Raftery from Ard Mhuire, is in the stone industry and erects stone memorials daily. During the Covid pandemic, he saw people’s frustrations when they couldn’t visit their loved ones’ graves because of restrictions. He sought to create an alternative way for people to visit their loved ones' gravesides and pay their respects.
It’s another way of visiting the grave of a loved one if it’s not possible to do so in person, a space you can go regularly to visit a beautiful and lasting tribute to someone you cared for. It enables people living abroad to visit their loved ones’ memorials and leave a tribute from anywhere in the world.
You can create a memorial for your loved one in 4 simple steps. More information can be found at https://digitalmemorial.ie/
Local man Paraic O’Brien was appointed as Foreign Correspondent at Channel 4 this summer
Local man Paraic O’Brien was appointed as Foreign Correspondent at Channel 4 this summer.
The promotion to Foreign Correspondent, at Channel 4 News is a big deal. “I used to watch the likes of Jonathan Rugman and Jonathan Miller who previously held this role reporting from around the world. Both masters at what they do.”
He is also sitting next to the journalistic titan that is Lindsay Hilsum. Although he has been working at Channel 4 News for 10 years, he sometimes still pinches himself on the odd the morning.
He only realised he wanted to be a journalist when he was a teenager but never really thought of it as a viable career option first. He had never met a journalist, had no connections in that world. It wasn’t until he moved to London in his early 20s that he started seriously thinking about it. He studied journalism part time while working as a youth worker near Brixton in South London. His big break came when he got an apprenticeship reporter post at BBC Radio 4. He also ended up meeting his wife there, so it was a very important few years!
According to Paraic there are two English teachers from Garbally that he’ll never forget: Mick Lally and Joe Molloy. They were both passionate about the power of great writing and impactful story telling. “It was infectious.” The walls of Mick Lally’s classroom were covered in posters of great plays from all around the world - Hamlet in New York, Macbeth in London. He remembers thinking to himself as a young fella: “I want to go see these plays and I want to go see them in the world’s great cities.”
He also believes his parents Larry and Catherine O’Brien are the ones who influenced his journalism. His father used to be the post-master for the town before he passed away and his mum who now lives in Portarlington was a schoolteacher in St Grellan’s. His family are devout evangelical Christians which was unusual at the time. His folks had a very practical idea of what Christianity involved. For one thing, they used to invite all sorts of waifs and strays into their home. They’d regularly have people around for dinner in Harbour Road who were struggling in life or were marginalised or outsiders in some way. That was normal for him as a kid and has stayed with him. Whether it’s a refugee camp in Syria or a drug rehabilitation centre in Romania, he understands the perspective of the outsider and he tries to communicate that in his reportage.
While his Mum was a schoolteacher in St Grellan’s, she taught him in first class. So as not to show any favouritism she was extra strict with him. After national school it was Garbally. He has very happy memories of the town. Playing on top of a mountain of fertiliser bags in the yard of Joe and Noreen Murray’s shop, River St with his best friend Jack; down at the October Horse Fair with his cousins from Clare with a couple of ponies; running wild along the canal with the next-door neighbours and his mates Kevin White, Aidan, and Declan Kenny.
He is only back in town the odd time these days. The last time was in 2020 on the Irish General Election campaign trail. Leo Varadkar was speaking at the Shearwater Hotel. He found it strange being back in the town on a story. He remembers doing a piece to camera with a few lads from school looking on in the foyer of the hotel. He doesn’t normally get nervous anymore when on the TV, but he was that day !
It’s difficult to put his finger on one story that was his “big break”. It was more a case of working hard on every story and gradually moving up. He thinks one of the stories he became quite well known for was a special report he did in the sewage system underneath Bucharest many years ago. He spent a couple of days underground interviewing the drug addicts who lived there. That particular report won a lot of awards.
His advice to young people who are interested in getting into journalism:
“Read as much news and analysis as you can and go out of your way to expose yourself to different opinions, not just the ones you feel safe with or agree with. Nothing beats “shoe leather journalism.” Yes, research stuff online, study data-based journalism but at the end of the day many stories involve knocking on doors, picking up the phone, the analogue stuff. If you’ve no contacts in journalism, make them for yourself. Journalists love giving advice to people setting out, so email a few and ask them for help. If you’re reading this and are from Ballinasloe, start with sending me an email" states Paraic.
Dom Climbs for Croí
Dunlo’s Street native Dominic Divilly will be taking on the mammoth task this October when he climbs Island Peak in the Himalayas a mountain that is 6,187 meters tall.
Dominic is a son of the Divilly family whose sister Regina currently operates the Carry Out Off-licence in the family premises on Dunlo Street.
He is Himalayan bound to raise money for Croí, which is the West of Ireland Heart Foundation. “My dad died in 1984 from heart issues when I was only 24 and I lost my rock that day.” stated Dominic. His father Wille was only 60 years old. All the money he raises from donations will go straight back into the charity.
A fresh and youthful 62-year-old but when Dominic was 58, he had to get three stents put in his arteries, however he feels fit and ready for this expedition.
He has been climbing for almost 20 years and has been to the Himalayas twice before. Climbs all over the world including Scotland, Wales, Spain, Corsica, Slovenia, Montenegro, Borneo, Africa, and Nepal. He had climbed the highest mountain in Africa, Kilimanjaro, highest mountain in Slovenia, Triglav and has a great passion for mountains and climbing in general.
To train for this he regularly hikes the mountains of Ireland most weekends. He has climbed the highest mountain in Ireland, Corran Tuathail in the Magillacuddy Reeks over 200 times and leads hikers to its summit many times a year.
Dominic is a trained rock climber but will have a team of five people climbing this peak with him. Currently he works for a medical device company in Galway - Medtronic and the stents in his arteries were manufactured in the factory. As a matter of fact, he was the person who printed all the paperwork for those batches of stents to be made.
He has three children who are all very supportive of his passion for climbing.
His main goal is trying to get the fundraiser out to as many people as possible to maximise the fundraising for charity.
“One could say Croí is very close to my heart.” states Dominic.
If you would like to donate you can do so on the iDonate website: https://www.idonate.ie/fundraiser/DomDivilly-Island-Peak-for-Croi
Debut Poetry Book For Marie Lyons
Ballygortha native Marie Lyons moved to Louth as a young seventeen-year-old. She is a member of Drogheda Creative Writers, who only made their debut on the Droichead Arts Stage last February and is dipping her toe in the waters of poetry.
She has self-published her first book “Between the Lines”. Inspiration coming chiefly from her journey through life and her verse deals with the impact of loss, the power of love, friendship, and hope.
Not many people get into poetry by happenstance but that is what happened to her as she says herself “More by accident than anything else! I have always had my head stuck in a book for as long as I can remember, and I can thank my Mum for encouraging me to read as a child,” states Marie.
Later in Ard Scoil Mhuire, her English teacher Mrs. Mary Molloy encouraged her youthful writing endeavours, and she has never forgotten that. “There is that saying that we all have a book in us, and it is true – everyone has a story. I recently completed a four-year degree course in Counselling and Psychotherapy during which time my class was all encouraged to write about themselves “, Marie explains.
Lockdown arrived and one day while she was gazing at a bunch of roses that were gently dying, they gave her a stirring for a poem ‘Corona Roses’. Once penned she began to write daily. She didn’t know what to call it as she hadn’t been a particular fan of poetry and did not feel she was entitled to call it such – but in the end, no other word fitted better. And so began the poetic journey through her life as memories flooded her head.
Some of her favourite memories from her childhood include being part of the musical ‘The Sound of Music’ during fifth year under the guidance of the late great Kay Purcell. She was really hoping to get a part as one of the children but to her surprise, which she admits – and slight dismay) She was cast as Captain Von Trapp!
“We really bonded so much as a group – and when Ann Murray Fraser and Catherine Gunvalsen Burke who were instrumental in organising a school reunion – it was evident how much that musical meant to us all as we sang songs from it during the night, and unfortunately, she can’t finish on this without mentioning Helen Salmon, the most beautiful Maria, who sadly passed away last year. When Edelweiss was sung acapella in the church at her funeral, we were all moved to tears as memories of those sweet innocent days floated in on the notes”, she fondly recalls.
Sharing her story with others so publicly has been such a powerful and humbling experience and she has been so well supported by family, friends and even strangers in getting this book out.
“People respond to honesty and vulnerability, and this is how we break down barriers. We are after all, more similar than we are different, we all feel pain and loss and fear and hope,” she notes.
Not a follower of any particular Poet - she believes that words can move, connect and inspire, change, and define us and it is so important that they are used well. She believes that being a mother has been the most rewarding experience during her life and this has helped shape her writing.
“I got lucky, I found a way to shape words into sentences that tell stories that seem to resonate with people, and I am so grateful for that. It has opened a whole new world to me, and it is quite simply amazing!” states Marie.
She believes young poets should continue to write and find out what inspires them, youth shouldn’t be too critical of themselves, editing later on will assist with this. Her most important piece of advice is to write about something that is relevant to you. She would like to thank Geraldine Moran Barrett and Dermot at Salmons and all their local support.
“Between the Lines” is available to buy in Salmons Shop Main Street and online at https://www.buythebook.ie/
Clontúskert native Sarah Lyons was part of the Intermediate Galway team that recently won the Intermediate All-Ireland Camogie final.
To get to play in Croke Park is a massive achievement but to win an All-Ireland is another thing all together. The result was a testament to the work the players put in throughout the year.
The perfect end to the perfect day for Sarah; was having her whole family including her grandmother Eileen in the stands cheering her on.
For many playing in a game of that magnitude could be daunting so preparation is key. The team continued with the same trainings getting their body and touch work right for the match. Their main focus being the game and producing the best performance possible. For many it was, their first time playing in Croker, and they were encouraged to enjoy the experience. “Our final session before the final was our best all year so that really gave us confidence that we could win the game.”, explains Sarah .
In the last 10 years Galway has won three Senior All-Ireland Camogie titles. This intermediate side is still a young team, and the girls have time to improve and there is hope that a few members of the team can win a senior title.
The celebrations continued long into the night after the match. The team returned to Galway on the Monday. Their first stop was Maisie’s, Athlone. They were then greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at the Shearwater hotel. However, for Sarah her highlight was the celebrations that were going on in Kiltomer, there was so many people out with their bonfires. “Walking out the bus with the cup to greet them was surreal” she stated.
Being a leaving cert student is always tough - trying to find extra time to study and Sarah was no exception. She was doing lots of homework and studying in the car. The teachers in Ard-scoil Mhuire were very helpful and understanding. As the Leaving Cert became closer the management were also considerate to Sarah and allowed her to cut back on the amount of training she was doing.
She believes that her father Tommy was the most influential person on her sporting journey. When she was younger, she was brought to her brother’s hurling training as well as her own camogie training. When he was her coach, he wasn’t afraid to tell her what she did wrong so that allowed her to improve. Her mother Catherine also deserves recognition as she took her around the county and country for matches and training.
"I have been very lucky to have been taught something beneficial both on and off the field by every coach. Every coach has helped me become the player I am today . I would advise parents or young girls to try camogie as it is a great way to make friends and to teach them life skills.“ explains Sarah.
“I have to thank all our management for a wonderful year, and also everyone in my club Kiltormer, for all their support,” she concludes.
The Ould Horse Fair - Edmond Watters
The late Edmond Watters passed away in 2015. He was better known as Eddie. He made his home in Fohenagh Ahascragh. Known for his charm, banter and storytelling but he also had a compassionate side and was willing to lend an ear and help people in times of trouble.
Eddie had many passions; he was a carpenter by trade and could turn his hand to antique restoration. He wasn’t known for his poetry, but he loved writing poems for his daughter when she was a child. He wrote all types of poetry but some of his best work is light-hearted pieces and solemn poems. Before he died, he aimed to publish a book of children poems, but he became too ill and couldn’t accomplish this.
While living in the neighbourhood Eddie was elected on to the local community council. While on the council he always tried his best to improve the town. We publish a piece he penned for the Fair:
The Ould Horse Fair
I looked on the green, at sights yearly seen,
In that place they call Ballinasloe.
There were lorries and trucks, buses, and cars,
And I’m almost sure, a few mobile bars.
There were ponies and mules, ducks, and asses,
And horses I tell you of all different classes.
The gentry were there from Cork and Clare,
And the farmers from Donegal.
All trying to find a place to stand,
When there was no room at all.
I was up to my neck in muck and mire,
Been constantly asked, “are you a buyer?”
Come look at my horse, I tell he’s sound,
Just take him out there and walk him around.
The money was passing from hand to hand,
Sometimes a few quid, but more often a few grand.
The flags were flying all maroon and white,
On top of the poles from dawn till night.
The town was full of market stalls,
Selling lots of gadgets and of course, the football.
I met Tommy from Cork and Paddy from Clare,
And I even met some Americans there.
The ponies and gigs went charging past,
It’s hard to believe they could trot so fast.
Alas! The fun fair is gone, the horses are sold,
I’m standing here in the freezing cold.
I look at the green, not a blade of grass,
But when I look back it was really class.
Please God next year when the time comes around,
We’ll have another horse fair on Ballinasloe ground.
Cath Eachroma 1691 was set up the inform and educate the public about the events and significance of the 1691 battle in the most accessible way possible. They examine the impact that the battle had on culture, and explore the art, music, and literature that has arisen from it.
The significance of the battle meant after Aughrim the Jacobites capitulated at Limerick, and the terms of the Treaty negotiated there meant that the vast majority of the Irish Upper Class and essentially all the fighting men left the country in what became known as the “Flight of the Wild Geese”. This huge exodus led to a power vacuum in the country, which was quickly filled by protestant gentry and the penal laws.
In terms of wider European significance, the defeat at Aughrim put a stop to Louis XIV’s plans of Europe domination and meant that the English monarchy was now aligned to the protestant cause.
The idea for the group came about in 2016 when the founding members George Geraghty and Joe Treacy approached Michael Riddell and Abbie McGowan to speak at an event for Heritage Week. Hannah Daly was asked to give a talk during her tenure as manager of the Visitor Centre along with James Treacy, and the group has expanded since then to include the Tully family who have supplemented the traditional music aspect that Valerie Seale also brings to the event.
For heritage week this year the group had a talk and walk. It was a huge success with over 100 people in attendance. “We were staggered by the support we received, particularly from Ballinasloe town. We are already planning something for next year and hope to improve our offering”, states Chair Michael.
Previously the organisation has worked with Marian Donohue from Galway County Council to improve the overall visitor experience in 2019, and she was a dream to work alongside. Working in conjunction with herself and Dr. Padraig Lenihan of NUIG they produced an activity pack which consists of a booklet containing information and activities about the 1691 Battle aimed at primary and secondary school students – improving the offering for school visits.
The group were also involved in the refurbishment of the centre, which was again spearheaded by Marian with display information researched by Michael and Abbie McGowan. The props, mannequins and flags sourced by Abbie from Lynn Williams of Irish Arms.
They were also involved in the production of a short promotion video for the centre which was produced by Fiona Ashe with funding from Failte Ireland. During the lockdowns they produced a photo booklet comprising of aerial photos of key locations on the battlefield alongside a short piece of text which explained the events that occurred there.
In the future they wish to see their group expanded to include more members, particularly those local to Aughrim. They would also love to collaborate with the communities on the outskirts of the Battlefield- Clontuskert and Kilconnell both have a wealth of heritage relative to the battle and they feel that there is certainly scope for a much larger project.
For next Heritage Week, they would love to see their current programme expanded to include weapon and uniform displays, and they would also like to inform the public about the second battle that took place in Aughrim: The March of O’Sullivan Beare.
The Oil industry has been on top of the news agenda since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. Prices have been volatile all summer. As the winter season approaches, people are more conscious than ever about the cost of heating their homes and workplaces. In this uncertain market Garbally Oil being the only depot in Ballinasloe will be carrying high stock levels this winter to ensure continuity of supply to the local community.
The Flaherty Family stated, “As we approach our 30th year in Poolboy, we take this opportunity to thank the people of Ballinasloe for their support and look forward to many more years with continued optimism.”
Visit www.garballyoil.com to find out more
Called MyCU, the current account and debit card allows members to manage their day-to-day banking with their credit union. The debit card is part of the Mastercard network, which means it can be used around the world. They will also be able to access their account worldwide. An overdraft facility is also available as is contactless payments along with Apple Pay, Google Pay and Fitbit Pay.
Account holders are charged a monthly maintenance fee of €4, which is below what banks charge.
Shane Mc Neill Business Development Manager with Ballinasloe Credit Union states “People in Ireland massively embraced debit cards and online banking and it makes sense that their local trusted credit union can now offer this level of convenience and access to their finances. We are seeing a lot of interest in the MyCU debit card and current account with Ulster Bank and KBC Bank pulling out. People like the personal touch you get with a credit union.”
John Hurley one of the thousands of account holder whose banks are ceasing trading in the country recently moved from KBC to the Credit Union explained:
“We pondered moving to another bank, but we decided to go with the Credit union. The facilities they provide are the same as the national banks. We did some research and went and spoke to a member of their staff. The move was seamless and there were no problems at all.”
For customers of those other banks that are in the same position as he was and considering moving he has simple advice: “Write down questions and go and speak to a member of staff and they will be happy to help.”
He has the Debit MasterCard and will be going on holiday’s shortly and he has no worries about using ATM or making payments with the card as it has worked perfectly so far. He has access to the online banking features on the app and on the web. He has been delighted with the new service.
Members of the Credit Union also have online access to their credit union account 24/7 via the credit union website and mobile app. All the features that people have come to except from online banking are available. Users can also apply for a loan via the credit union website or app and have the funds transferred to a designated account without ever having called into the credit union.
Members will benefit from banking anywhere, anytime through online banking and the debit card allows members to access their account wherever, whenever, worldwide.
With the new card customers can pay bills, withdraw cash at ATMs and make purchases at point of sale where the Mastercard acceptance mark is displayed, or online from anywhere in the world. The card offers contactless capability and has 24/7 support for lost or stolen cards. The card also has an added feature, a semi-circular indent on one side to support members who may be visually impaired.
There is also a new youth account available to juvenile members aged 12 to 17. The card offers all the features of a debit card with reduced spending limits and daily thresholds for added protection against fraud and misuse. Extra security and age-related restrictions also apply to the card. These security feature provides independence for the younger members and reassurance for parents and guardians. The Credit union will be rolling out this new service for juvenile members in October.
Find out more by visiting www.ballinasloecreditunion.com
Rugby Graduates Excel
Ballinasloe RFC rugby graduates continue to excel on the highest stage with Maebh Deely scoring on her Irish debut on the Ireland Women's tour of Japan. Additionally, Beibhinn Parsons returned to action with the Irish Women’s Sevens in the World Cup Sevens in South Africa scoring some outstanding tries on their way to the quarter final. So, girls join Ballinasloe RFC and end up travelling the world playing Rugby!
Also, Club graduates on the mens side - Oisin McCormack, Shane Jennings, Colm Reilly and John Devine played for Connacht 'A' in that series of games.
The next generation of players known as the 'Ballinasloe Broncos' train every Saturday from 10 to 11:30 am and all boys and girls from six to 12 are welcome. All mini's coaches are trained and vetted and offer an inclusive, fun environment, with excellent facilities for all children. Further details on the Broncos can be had from Steve Goode at 0852662142.
The club fields in all ages in the boys - from minis, 13s to senior in men's and at girls, minis (six to 12) and at U14, U16 and U18 in women.
The senior men led by Captain Andrew Manion, currently compete at Connacht Junior C level with the League commencing in October. Following the completion of Curley Cup where they won their first fixture 41 - 7 v Claremorris, lost 21 to 24 against NUIG in an entertaining game and defeated Ballina in their final Group game. The Management team of Noel Manion, Tom Finn, Kevin Hogarty, Conor Higgins were impressed with the squad.
Like all Clubs fundraising is an ongoing necessity and support is asked for their Table Quiz on Friday 21st October In Clubhouse at 8pm with loads of spot prizes and a fun night guaranteed. There is also an ongoing pre-worn clothes collection facility in the Club and donations are always welcome. And the ongoing 'Half the pot' monthly draw continues.
The improvement of the club facilities is continued with ongoing upgrading of the pitch lighting, and dressing rooms for women. Plans are also afoot to build a storage shed and construct a walkway on the periphery of the playing pitches to allow parents and members exercise while their children train and play.
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